With warmer summer months just around the corner, we questioned Dr. Sreedhar Krishna, Consultant Dermatologist from skindoc to get expert advice about the importance of sun protection, including which SPF to choose, how much to put on, how often to reapply, as well as other tips and tricks on how to ensure the perfect application. Read on to find out more…

What are the dangers of not wearing sun cream?

Sun cream is designed to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. If you do not wear sun cream and end up getting caught out, you run the risk of sustaining irreversible damage.

Sunburn

While not only painful, sunburn is a sign of DNA damage that is occurring under the skin. DNA damage can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. While the body has some capacity to repair damaged DNA, sometimes it cannot, and this can lead to skin cancer. These typically need to be cut out, leading to scarring that can be unsightly.

Skin ageing

Sun exposure without sunscreen can damage the scaffolding that holds our skin up. This can lead to our skin becoming saggy and wrinkled. Additionally, those with fair skin are at increasing risk of developing broken blood vessels on the skin as well as brown spots. Once these develop, they can be very difficult to get rid of.

How often / in what situations should I wear sun cream?

It all depends on the UV index which you can obtain from the local UV forecast. If the index is greater than 3, it would be wise to wear sunscreen. This is even more important during the hours of 11am to 3pm. If you already have signs of sun damage, you may wish to wear sunscreen at all times when outdoors.

Additionally, some dermatologists advocate using sunscreen while indoors to protect against the blue light emitted from electronic devices such as your computer or smartphone - the jury is still out on this one though.

What SPF should I choose, and why?

If you're just popping out for a short trip to the shops, an SPF15 that is commonly contained within moisturisers should be enough. If you're going to be exposed to more sun (e.g. an outdoor walk or beach trip), it would be wise to splash out on SPF50 which should be enough to protect against the harshest sun. This being said, SPF 50 does not make you bulletproof to the sun.

You still need to keep an eye out to apply sufficient quantity of cream - and remember to reapply! The rationale for using SPF 50 is that it will allow only 2% of UVB rays through your skin. This is 50% better when compared against SPF30!

How much sun cream should I use for face / body application?

A rule of thumb to ensure adequate coverage for the face is to use half a teaspoon-sized quantity. If you don't have a teaspoon to compare against, enough cream to cover the length of one finger is approximately the same.

For the entire body, the minimum quantity required is 6 teaspoon's worth. This is made up:

  • Face – half teaspoon
  • Arm – half teaspoon each (1 teaspoon total)
  • Leg– one teaspoon each (2 teaspoons total)
  • Chest and tummy – one teaspoon
  • Back – one teaspoon
  • Rest of body (e.g. hands, feet, ears, neck, and on your bottom) – half teaspoon


Do you have any tips on how to cover hard to reach spots e.g. middle of back?

Make a friend? Failing that, there are clever devices that can help you reach those tricky spots.

If you're on a budget, one smart lifehack is to apply a zigzag of sunscreen to a cut sheet of clingfilm. Wipe this clingfilm in a lateral motion across your back as if you're towelling dry. Job done!

What are the best sun creams for those with skin conditions, and which ingredients should be avoided?

Each person's skin is different, and one person's saviour may be another's poison! With this in mind it’s helpful to avoid certain ingredients such as methylisothiazolinone (a common preservative). This compound can often trigger severe allergic reactions and, to add insult to injury, can be damaging to the environment.

Additionally, sodium lauryl sulphate is a commonly used compound that helps create lather in creams. This compound can damage the skin barrier, especially in those with sensitive skin and is ideally avoided. Some people benefit from having patch testing (a special test conducted by a dermatologist) to enable you to learn which compounds are safe for your skin. The La Roche Posay Anthelios brand is renowned for being suitable for even those with the most sensitive skin types.

How often should I reapply sun cream?

At least every two hours and more often if you're sweating profusely or swimming. This remains the case regardless of the SPF!

Do you have any tips on how to reapply sun cream over makeup without ruining it?

You can brush a powder sunscreen over the face - this will blend with your skin tone and in fact helps lock your make up into place.

Your lifestyle can impact an application when it comes to life insurance cover. We are committed to providing customers with the cheapest route to buy life insurance, and here at Cavendish Online there are a couple different options to help you find the best policy for you.

You can either get a quote yourself, which takes just a few minutes of your time; just complete this form here. Or, if you want some human interaction, you can choose to speak with one of our specialists over the phone – call us on 01392 241 850 to reach one of our helpful consultants.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and should not replace the relationship that exists between a patient and their existing healthcare provider. Cavendish Online are not liable or responsible for the accuracy of the advice provided by third party experts, nor for the content or operation of any third-party websites, webpages, or resources which have been linked to within this article. *Advice and information correct as of 27/04/2021

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